|“||Many of the Wainriders now passed south of Mordor and made alliance with men of Khand and of Near Harad.||”|
–Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, The Lord of the Rings
The Great Desert is the large, barren desert region located south of most of the familiar lands of Middle-earth. Cacti are much more rare here than in the vanilla Minecraft deserts, and surface water is almost nonexistent. The desert is home to the nomads, people known to have no permanent dwellings and who travel around with all their belongings in permanent search of vegetation and water for their livestock, and for trade opportunities. Their presence secures the bonding between the peoples of Near Harad as they cater for the trade needs of their kin in the Southron Coasts to their west, Harnedor to their north, and the Gulf of Harad to the south of their barren habitat.
Due to the intense heat of this desert region, the player will periodically take damage, similar to the way the player will take damage in Forodwaith due to the intense cold. The best way to avoid this is to obtain Harad robes or get out from underneath the burning sun, and to only travel at night ... but mind the scorpions.
Any traveller crossing this region is recommended to go by ship ... the ship of the desert that is. The Camels that spawn here can be ridden by any player after being tamed. And these animals are excellent mounts for long distance travels through this unforsaken country.
Upon entering Near Harad you earn the achievement "The Great Desert".
This is a transition biome that lies between the Great Desert and the rest of the world. It features sparse vegetation: dry scrubby grass, and the occasional tree, although many of the trees are dead. This part is inhabited by nomads and their structures.
Great ranges of hills covered in sand rise in various parts of the desert.
This sub-biome is located on north-east of Near Harad. Compared to normal desert, it has red sand and sandstone, from which red brick can be made. This gives this sub-biome a very unique look.
The region has a few large, non-wadi, rivers that cross the half-deserts. Along the banks of those rivers, you will find an environment that mostly resembles that of the Southron Coasts. Here, you may find an Ancient Harad Fortress. The riverbank is inhabited by nomads and their structures.
This small sub-biome is found randomly throughout the desert. Their appearance is very similar to the lands of the Southron Coasts. Oases tend to contain lush, fertile grass with many flowers, usually based around bodies of water. Birds, rabbits, boars and more can spawn in oases. Trees grow such as date palms, cedar trees, cypress trees, oak trees and olive trees. Also, some nomads live here.
Upon entering an oasis, the player earns the achievement "Jewel of Harad".
In the Great Desert, the following biome variants can be found:
- Red boulder fields
- Hills - a version of the great desert with more hills.
- Dead forest (Half-deserts only) - a desert forest of dead trees.
- Sandy scrublands (Desert Hills only)
- Oasis - a place in the desert where there is water and plants and trees grow.
Throughout all of Near Harad, stone ruins can be found. They are silent witnesses of the strength of sands and winds. The following structures can be found in the desert.
- Obelisks - Tall sandstone structures with fire at the top. Like the Gondor obelisks, they mark the territory of Near Harad.
- Nomad Outposts - Small camps that can be found in the Half-Deserts.
- Nomad Encampments - Larger camps with a bazaar and a chieftain, which can also be found in the Half-Deserts.
- Ancient Harad Fortress - Empty fortresses formerly home to ancient Haradrim. They contain plenty of loot.
- Desert Pyramids - Pyramids that, at first glance, appear empty, with a depiction of the Eye of Sauron at the summit (the pupil of which is a gold block.) Hidden inside is a complex of burial chambers, guardrooms, and a scorpion room, all of which contain some good loot.
- Morwaith Mercenary Camps - Small camps found in the Half-Deserts.
- Harad Nomad - Nomads of the Great Desert.
- Nomad Guard - Armed and armored Nomads that are tasked with guarding the caravans from thieves.
- Nomad Archer - Archers of the Nomads.
- Nomad Chieftain - Unit captains that will allow you to hire the above.
- Nomad Traders - Traders that can be found in bazaars and encampments.
- Wraiths - Ghosts of ancient Southron kings that inhabit the pyramids found in the desert.
- Scorpions - Poisonous beasts hostile to all. They only spawn in the desert.
Beneath the Great Desert all the normal ores can be found, but lapis lazuli is now exclusive to this biome and the other parts of Near Harad.
There is little vegetation in the desert of Near Harad. In some parts forests of dead trees are silent witnesses of the conservational strength of the draught that governs this biotope.
- The Riverbank and Oasis are technically sub-biomes of the Southron Coasts.
- Glflegolas did a regional spotlight on the Near Harad Desert, which can be found here. If you plan on visiting, make sure to check that out.
The Great Desert
Near Harad Half-Deserts
The One Wiki to Rule Them All has an article on:
The Tolkien Gateway has an article on: